Recovering from Hurricane Matthew: resources for arts and culture nonprofits

Hurricane MatthewPrivate nonprofits have 30 days from the disaster date to apply for FEMA assistance.

FEMA has provided this information to help cultural institutions, arts organizations, and historical sites navigate the road to recovery after Hurricane Matthew.

– Proof of ownership

– Proof of legal responsibility to repair the facility

– Insurance policy

  • There are two overarching types, or categories, of work – Emergency Work and Permanent Work. All private nonprofits in affected counties are eligible to apply for Emergency Work, which includes debris removal and emergency protective measures.
  • Cultural institutions are considered non-critical PNPs. Non-critical PNPs may apply for Permanent Work in certain affected counties; check with your County Emergency Manager at Permanent work can address the following (this list is not inclusive):

– Your building/facility – damage to the structure/envelope itself

– The materials, equipment, and exhibition furnishings associated with the storage, display, preservation, or exhibition of collections and individual objects. This would include HVAC systems and fire suppression systems.

– Collections and individual objects, including records and archives of the organization

  • To apply for Permanent Work, non-critical PNPs must apply to the Small Business Administration (SBA) to obtain a low-interest loan. You will go through the SBA process and either accept a loan or be denied a loan. Public Assistance (PA) will continue to work with you to identify damages. PA may be able to provide financial assistance if the damages are beyond the accepted amount of the SBA loan.

See for information about applying for SBA disaster assistance.

If the SBA approves a loan and you don’t want to accept it, PA will offset the amount of the loan on the damage claims but would look to reimburse for eligible costs over the loan amount.

If you are denied an SBA loan, then PA would work with you to reimburse eligible Permanent Work expenses.

  • In short, affected PNPs should take the following actions as soon as possible:
  1. First and foremost, apply for FEMA assistance by submitting the RPA form (see URL above) by the deadline. This will essentially get you “into the pipeline.” The deadline varies based on your county; check with your County Emergency Manager. Once you submit the RPA, you can decide not to go ahead with the process, or you can go through the process and then decide not to accept any funds. But if you don’t apply by the deadline, you won’t be eligible to receive any funding through the Public Assistance Program.
  2. Apply for a disaster loan from the SBA. The sooner you do, the faster your federal disaster assistance can be processed.
  • Be on the lookout for the Applicant Briefing date(s) in your county, meetings held by the State at which the PA process is explained. Consult your County Emergency Manager for the date(s).

Other resources:

For more information, go to the South Carolina Emergency Management Division Public Assistance page,